Finance Minister Colm Imbert will present his fifth budget under the PNM Government today, and sources say the expenditure will increase from last year in order to facilitate new projects.
The source said the Minister plans to pump money into the public sector via the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) and the construction sector, which would see the building of the four new highways and a new block at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. News houses are expected to be built as well as the annual paving of roads in communities.
The Police Service is also expected to receive more money- Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has long said that he never received a budget when he took office and has identified that as a disadvantage when wanting to make purchases for the service. The sister-isle, through the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), will be given a bump in their allocation. Although this is the norm, additional funds will be given to develop and promote the tourism sector. Taxes may decrease and debts owed to local businesses and contractors may be paid.
The source said the Minister will fund all of these projects and more based on expected oil and gas prices: a crude oil price between US$55 and US60 and a natural gas price of US $275 per mmbtu. Atlantic LNG and Heritage Petroleum will also add to the Government’s revenue, in addition to the $3billion (estimated) received from the sale of British American and Clico.